Monday 22 March 2010

Winter just won't go away

This year winter obviously decided to hang around for a bit longer. Well at least here in Slovenia.
Most of the hills are still covered in deep snow. Fortunately for the last week or so the weather has been reasonably warm at lower altitudes.

Two weeks ago or so we had the first sunny and quite warm day. Unfortunately that didn't last long. After that day cold northern winds started to blow and for the next week it was really cold and windy around here. In some places wind speed was even over 200 kilometers per hour (that is over 125 mph)! All sorts of things were flying around and many roads were occasionally closed due to overturned trucks. Here you can see how a fellow Slovenian blogger documented the situation.

I hope now we are done with that and spring is finally coming. I have spotted some snowdrops in front of the house trying to break free from the snow. I am sure this is a good sign.

It seems now we are looking at some warmer days at last. However if you are planning a trip to Slovenia and want to see some snow, it is still the right time to do it.
If you prefer a bit warmer weather, you might want to wait a while longer. I suppose in a month most of the snow will be gone even in higher areas. However, high in the Alps it is quite common for the snow to last until the beginning of summer.


Wednesday 17 March 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Buried under the snow


Wednesday 10 March 2010

Cross-country skiing center Vojsko

Cross-country skiing is gaining popularity again in Slovenia. It was already quite popular over a decade ago, but then lost many supporters due to a rise of alpine skiing. In my opinion it happened because of better and better equipped ski slopes. Modern and fast ski-lifts were being installed on almost every ski slope.
Besides all that, Slovenian professional skiers are some of the most popular public figures in the country. They have been continuously achieving good results in the World Cup series for many decades.

Nowadays both sports are very popular again. Cross-country skiing is gaining supporters by the day.
Excellent results of Tina Maze (Slovenian alpine skier) and Petra Majdič (Slovenian cross-country skier) have a great deal to do with that. They were both also among this year's Vancouver Olympic medal winners.
Petra was also awarded the Terry Fox foundation award for incredible courage and determination after breaking several ribs and puncturing her lungs and still finishing third.

All that made us think and after a couple of years long break, M. and I finally decided to go cross-country skiing again. We are both beginners in this sport. Three years ago we attended a beginner level training and have not been practicing very often since then.

That is a pity, because there is an excellent cross-country skiing facility nearby. It is called Cross-country skiing center Vojsko.
I have to say I like this sport - it is really cheap. Once you get your hands on some equipment you can do it literary for free. The equipment itself is also relatively cheap.

Besides the financial side, getting in touch with nature is not to be ignored as well. It is also not very time consuming - I can feel every muscle of my body (usually on the next day I tend to find even a few new ones I didn't know I had) after an hour of exercise and if I may add... I think I am not in such a bad shape at all.
We chose a really beautiful day for doing this. It was sunny and quite warm.

As we had expected, after 8 kilometers we were pretty exhausted. We saw a few people on the track but mostly there was just nature and the two of us.

I stopped from time to time to take a photo or two. It was just the right day for a photo session but this time it was only on the second place. A good quality exercise came first this time.

In the end I found time for both and we were pleased with the results. We were both glad we finally did it. We really got to enjoy a great Saturday morning!


Wednesday 3 March 2010

Wordless Wednesday: I say Jump!


Monday 1 March 2010

Local Ski-jumping Event

Many people travel to Slovenia to witness the annual ski flying event which this year will take place form 18th to 21st of March in Planica.
Ski jumping is a relatively popular sport in Slovenia. I guess that is due to the world famous Planica K-185, where a first ever jump over 200 meters was made in 1994. The current world record stands at 239 meters (that's 784 feet!).

That is by far the largest ski jumping facility in Slovenia, but there are also many smaller ones. Recently a group of local enthusiasts in a village nearby where I live, decided to build their own ski jump. They went for a smaller one (K-30), but it came out quite impressive nonetheless.

As I learned there is quite regularly an amateur ski jumping contest held on various locations around Slovenia -  simmilar to this one in Pancala near Idrijske Krnice. Contestants usually don't use ski-jumping gear. They mostly do it with ski-boots and old skis originally meant for alpine skiing.

I am quite good at alpine skiing but still I am not sure if I would find enough courage to participate in such an event. Well, never say never...

This time I attended just as a spectator but it was still fun to watch what can be done in a relatively short period of time. As far as I know it was all done with voluntary work local enthusiasts were willing to put into this project. I think something like that can hardly be found anywhere these days.
The event was definitely a success. Quite a crowd of spectators came to see what was going on. The participants were young and old. I even captured one of the local jumpers in a video - you can check it out here.

Even an official mascot was there to entertain the crowd. He was equiped with some really old wooden skis and even attempted a couple of jumps. He had skis attached to his shoes with simple leather straps.
As he said dogs also developed a strange attraction to his skis. He suspected his home made ski wax had something to do with it. As people did in the old times he also used some genuine, home made lard. It looked like the old recipe still works.

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